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The second Kickstarter update for Owlcat Games' Pathfinder: Kingmaker explains the upcoming game's character building mechanics and its highly customizable difficulty settings. Here's an excerpt:
We wish to make it possible for you to create and develop characters fitting as many concepts and play styles as possible. We want you to be able to replicate the characters that you are currently playing in tabletop, roll characters you’ve always wanted to play or that you had already played before, but you didn't get a chance to really watch them grow because of untimely character death or because your gaming group had fallen apart. For this, we want to give you as many options as possible.
Of course, some combat mechanics work differently in real time. Area of effect spells can seem unwieldy because you can miss your enemies, but it could be pointed out that they are still used far more often in CRPGs. One reason for that is the amount of preparation on the table for encounters with large amounts of monsters - too much time is required to place them all on the mat. Just working out the initiative and turns for dozens of monsters can take ages! Computer games don't have such problems - annihilate these monsters to your heart's content!
There will be around 10 variants of animal companions, and the same goes for familiars. There will be more than 300 feats, including large feat chains. Some of you asked about deities - there will be at least the Big Twenty. There will be combat maneuvers. There will be blood… lines. Domains. Specialist arcane school powers. Alchemical discoveries and bardic masterpieces. Metamagic and combat styles. Lots and lots of spells. And, of course, prestige classes will also be there.
You set the challenge
Now, if reading about all of these features is making your head spin, because you may be hoping for a more casual experience, don't fret! If you just want to enjoy the game without worrying too much about mechanics, character planning and micro-management, you may always choose a lower difficulty setting. Our AI can help you control the characters in battle. There are pregenerated builds and recommendations for all the choices and options. You can choose exactly which elements you want help with and which of them you want to handle on your own.
Difficulty settings will include a story mode, for those who are less interested in combat and want to focus more on the plot and dialogue. In story mode only thematic abilities of enemies will be noticeable, trolls will still regenerate and spiders will still be venomous, but overall combat will be far easier, and enemy abilities will be easier to deal with. Damage and enemy defenses will be greatly reduced in story mode, and some complex mechanical systems, such as attacks of opportunity, will be switched off for enemies. There will also be a core rules difficulty, which will adhere to tabletop Pathfinder as closely as possible - with attacks of opportunity on your archer that shoots in melee, friendly fire from area of effect spells and occasional deadly critical hits on your party. There will be adapted rules – a simplified version of core rules, fit for fans of CRPGs more than core, where drinking a potion will not provoke an attack of opportunity from an opponent and critical hits of your enemies are not as deadly, reducing the randomness of fights. There will also be several different harder difficulties, where enemies will have their stats (and, consequently DCs for saves, AC, attacks and such) and health incresed by different amounts, for those of you who seek a greater challenge. Other difficulty settings include an easy mode, set between story and adapted rules. On top of that, many combat-related settings will be customizable. Don't like attacks of opportunity? No problem, just switch them off in the options. Most difficulty settings can also be changed in the middle of a fight.
You will also be able to choose from several AI behaviours for your party members, allowing them to use spells and abilities or spend resources on their own, should you so desire. As your characters level up, you will be able to select which among them will be following their pregenerated path and whose development you want to control by hand. For instance, you could level up your main character completely manually, but leave all your companions, or some of them, to develop according to their predestined builds. There will also be recommendations for many builds and play styles. Want a character to become a skilled archer? You can ask the game to point out recommended feats for archers in the level up interface. The game can even give you recommendations based on your previous choices! It's a little bit like shopping on the internet. "We see that you have taken Point-Blank Shot, you may also like: Precise Shot."